Writing an Undergraduate Dissertation

Certain universities require their students to write an undergraduate dissertation, which is also commonly referred to as a bachelor’s dissertation. It implies conducting extensive research on a subject that is relevant to the major and, of course, interesting to a student from the scientific point of view. To receive professional guidance, the undergraduates should find a supervisor from the faculty. The writing process is usually demanding and difficult since the length of a bachelor’s dissertation is considerably larger than that of a traditional research paper. Nevertheless, as much as challenging, creating a dissertation from scratch is a very rewarding experience.

Bachelor’s Dissertation vs. Postgraduate Dissertation

Surprisingly, undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations exhibit more differences than similarities. They vary in terms of three fundamental things: length, innovativeness, and the depth of research. Primarily, a bachelor’s dissertation is supposed to be much shorter than a master’s thesis, for example. The expected length is between 10,000-15,000 words. Even though it is actually not that much, it might be tough to write for an undergraduate student.

Then, an undergraduate dissertation does not require a student to offer a unique and new perspective on a problem or an original solution. Surely, the paper should be plagiarism free and fully authentic, but it does not necessarily should lead to a breakthrough. A student simply should gather information about a specific aspect of a subject, find out what scholars think of it, and present a critical overview of the data collected. Although content requirements are less stringent, the quality of critical analysis still should at the highest level.

Lastly, the overall depth of the research should not necessarily be great. A student is not required to design a special methodology and will not incur expenses when it comes to the implementation of the research. An undergraduate dissertation is more about theoretical work and the analysis of the available primary and secondary sources. The writing process is not likely to involve any field activities. Yet, depending on the nature of a program, there might be a practical part in a dissertation. All steps connected with it will be made under strict supervision only.

Writing Steps

  • Step One: Topic. If your studying program envisages writing an undergraduate dissertation, you will be asked to choose a topic for research at the end of the penultimate year in order for you to have a year for working on the paper. The topic should be selected in a very considerate manner. You will have to deal with it for a very long time, so it should be indeed interesting for you.
  • Step Two: Supervisor. Once you know what you want to write about, you should find someone who will be able to help you with constructive criticism and a piece of advice. In other words, you need a supervisor. Your university may require you to go through a formal procedure of supervisor allocating. However, usually, it is enough to just talk to a professor you want to work with. Be sure to discuss the topic of your bachelor’s dissertation and arrange regular meetings with the supervisor.
  • Step Three: Preparatory Research. The step should be taken during summer before the last year of the undergraduate program begins. It implies doing preliminary reading in order to familiarize yourself with the subject and be ready to the in-depth research when the time comes. Try not to skip this stage!
  • Step Four: Outline. As the actual writing process starts, you will have to provide a preliminary draft of your paper. It is supposed to have a format of an outline with a summary of all chapters (2-3 pages) as well as a complete bibliography. A title of your undergraduate dissertation will have to be formulated, too. The draft needs to be properly proofread and approved by your supervisor.
  • Step Five: Research. Now, the actual work begins. You should read much relevant literature to collect data and write the first real draft as soon as possible. As a rule, universities require to submit the piece of 3,500-5,500 words even before the first semester ends. You, however, will have to finish it even earlier in order to show the draft to the supervisor and do revisions, if applicable. Therefore, once you have an outline, i.e., a plan of what should be done, start researching and writing. Procrastination will serve you no good.
  • Step Six: Final Paper. The writing should result in an introduction, three or four chapters, conclusion, and, of course, a bibliography. The text should be perfectly proofread, edited, and formatted up to the standard set by your school. The ideas of others should be cited according to the rules of a formatting style. The dissertation should have no signs of plagiarizing.
  • Step Seven: Submission. An undergraduate dissertation cannot be submitted via Moodle or Canvas. Similarly, it will not be enough to just print out the paper. The dissertation should undergo binding that can be done in a printing center on campus. Be sure to give the paper for binding early before the due date, as it is a rather time-consuming process.

Evaluation of Undergraduate Dissertation

When it comes to bachelor’s dissertation, most universities follow the standard procedure and assess the paper as a separate module. So, like with any other course, you may just earn a minimum grade and pass it or get an A if the dissertation is of the outstanding quality. Some establishments do not consider it as a stand-alone subject and just take it into consideration in the process of classifying a degree. In other words, there are no strict rules regarding the evaluation. Hence, it is highly recommended to find out the peculiarities of assessment and specific requirements to undergraduate dissertations in your university.

In conclusion, writing a bachelor’s dissertation is a task that is difficult to complete, but it is also a very enriching experience. It will help you to get an insight into scientific work, which, perhaps, will be your future career. It gives you a chance to work on something unique and important independently for the first time in your life, meaning that you will be ready to handle big projects at work. Finally, it will be an opportunity to develop research and time management skills that are crucial in any situation, especially at a postgraduate study program.